The Heartwarming Story Behind This Adorable Disney Parks Model

Shelby Grasser

by , Manager - Corporate Citizenship, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products

You may remember 5-year-old Luke, who helped bring to life our Wishes Come True Blue color collection back in 2020, benefiting Make-A-Wish! As a child born deaf, Luke received cochlear implants to help him hear. He was the perfect model to debut the adjustable children’s Mickey Mouse ear headband, allowing children of all abilities to wear their ears comfortably.

“The adjustable headband was great for Luke’s head because his cochlear implants sit on his ears, and the adjustable Velcro strap made it comfortable and easy to wear,” said Amanda Besser, Luke’s mom.

Now, Luke is a cheerful kindergartener who loves playing sports and the song “We Don’t Talk About Bruno.” Though Luke is not a Wish kid, he and his family were proud that Luke could do his part to raise funds for other children facing medical challenges. With the support of amazing models like Luke and guests like you, we raised over $1,000,000 for Make-A-Wish through the Wishes Come True Blue Color Collection, Mickey Mouse Vintage Holiday Plush and Disney Parks Wishables: Magic Carpets of Aladdin series!

Luke with his grandmother, Prima Throop

Luke’s connection to Disney runs deep – his grandmother, Prima Throop, is a merchandising cast member who has worked at Walt Disney World Resort since she was 18 years old. She designs the windows on Main Street as well as on the cruise ships and has used her knowledge of Luke’s cochlear implants to help cast members authentically create in-park displays that feature guests with various disabilities. 

In celebration of Luke’s support and determination, we’re making a donation to Nemours Children’s Hospital, where Luke receives care.

Luke with family member, both in Star Wars merchandise

“This photo shoot was an incredible opportunity for Luke and our family,” shared Amanda. “Luke enjoyed every minute of it. He loved showing his classmates and we shared it all over social media.”

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